Trending: Microsoft to acquire machine learning startup Bonsai, fueling AI efforts

Eric Horvitz is the new head of Microsoft Research Labs. (Microsoft Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

In a surprise move last week, Jeannette Wing — a noted computer scientist and corporate vice president of Microsoft Research — announced she would be stepping down from her role at the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant to lead Columbia University’s Data Science Institute.

A veteran Microsoft researcher and noted computer scientist is stepping in to help lead Microsoft’s research efforts in her place: longtime artificial intelligence researcher Eric Horvitz.

Horvitz’s new title is Director of Microsoft Research Labs, which means he will oversee Microsoft Research Labs outside Asia: those in Redmond, Wash.; Cambridge, Mass.; New York; Bangalore, India; and Cambridge, England.

Microsoft’s MSR Asia labs are overseen by Peter Lee, the company’s Corporate VP of MSR NExT, and all Microsoft research efforts are overseen Harry Shum, the Executive VP of the company’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Group.

Horvitz has been conducting research on artificial intelligence and machine learning at Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters for more than 25 years. He joined the company as a researcher in 1993 and became the deputy managing director of Microsoft Research in 2010.

He has also advised organizations including DARPA and the National Science Foundation. His work includes developing AI systems that could prevent medical errors and envisioning a future of completely autonomous vehicles. Among many other projects, his research led to a Microsoft Cortana feature that automatically detects commitments made by people in email and sets reminders for them.

Microsoft’s research arm focuses on developing emerging technologies and moving them into products, with a distinct focus on AI. If Horvitz’s promotion is any indication, that focus on AI is only becoming stronger.

Brad Mirkovich. (Accolade Photo)

— Healthcare concierge service Accolade, helmed by former Concur leaders Raj Singh and Mike Hilton, announced two additions to its leadership team today: Brad Mirkovich joins the company as Chief Revenue Officer and David Swift will serve as Chief Service Officer.

Mirkovich joins the company from Glassdoor, where he was Chief Revenue Officer for more than a year, before which he served a short stint as an SVP in charge of sales and development at software company Dynatech.

He previously spent seven years as Concur’s general manager for the Americas. At Accolade, Mirkovich will help scale the company’s distribution operations by leading sales, business development and customer partnerships.

Dave Swift. (Accolade Photo)

Swift joins the company from global risk management and insurance services provider Aon, where he spent eleven years on the executive team. Swift most recently served as the company’s EVP of human capital management and analytics practices.

At Accolade, he will lead operations and services.

“We’re incredibly excited that Brad and Dave share our mission of transforming the healthcare experience for millions of people, and we welcome their ideas, experience and passion to our movement,” Accolade CEO Raj Singh said in a press release. “We’re growing with new products, services, partners, customers and members, and these two leaders are exactly the executives we need to grow in the right way to support our mission and strategic business and member-service goals.”

Anne Bramman. (Photo via LinkedIn)

— Seattle-based retail and e-commerce company Nordstrom announced the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer: retail vet Anne Bramman.

Bramman replaces longtime Nordstrom exec Mike Koppel, who retired on May 1. 

She comes to the company from retail tech company Avery Dennison, where she was the CFO for two years. She was previously the CFO of the Carnival Cruise Line.

At Nordstrom, Bramman will focus on continuing Nordstrom’s growth, which has gathered new focus on the company’s e-commerce and digital operations over the past few years.

“I’ve always admired Nordstrom and am excited to join the company during a time of transformative change in the industry,” Bramman said in a press release. “Nordstrom has been an industry leader in strategically investing for the future and I look forward to supporting their commitment to operating excellence.”

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